Premier League questions: Trophy boost for Man Utd? Will City keep the pressure up?
By Gerard Brand and James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 05/03/17 9:29pm
Will Man Utd be boosted by their EFL Cup win? Will Man City win early to keep the pressure on Chelsea? Here are the questions we hope are answered come Monday night in the Premier League...
It's a full fixture list in the Premier League this weekend as battle resumes at both ends of the table, with Manchester United v Bournemouth kicking things off on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD.
Tottenham host Everton and Manchester City travel to Sunderland on Nissan Super Sunday, before West Ham v Chelsea on Monday Night Football. Read on to see what questions might be answered by the end of the weekend...
Trophy hangover or trophy boost? (Man Utd v Bournemouth, Saturday from 11.30am, live on Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky Sports Mix HD)
How will winning the EFL Cup affect Manchester United? Will it be a catalyst for further success this season? Or will there be a drop-off with a trophy already in the bag?
One thing's for sure; United could not have asked for a better fixture on paper for their return to the Premier League.
Bournemouth are bottom of the form table over the last six matches, having earned just one point and conceded 17 goals. They've also let in the most goals away from home (30) in the Premier League this season.
But the Cherries would not be the first side to spring a surprise at Old Trafford this season. Stoke, Hull, West Ham and Burnley have all held out for a point, to leave United with just six wins from their 13 home league games to date.
Will the Foxes keep it going? (Leicester v Hull, Saturday 3pm)
With Claudio Ranieri no longer in charge, Leicester produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Liverpool 3-1 on Monday Night Football.
The Foxes looked a team transformed, with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville saying: "They just worked harder. It's as simple as that…They decided tonight they wanted to play."
Almost a week later, and against relegation rivals rather than top-four contenders, how will the Foxes fare?
Hull are unlikely to play into their hands as Liverpool did, but another win would have the Premier League champions starting to look up the table rather than over their shoulders as they continue their search for a new manager.
How will Stoke respond? (Stoke v Middlesbrough, Saturday 3pm)
Stoke manager Mark Hughes did not hold back in his criticism after seeing his side beaten 4-0 by Tottenham last Sunday, with all the goals coming in the first half.
Hughes described the display as "unacceptable" and said his team needed to do better in "key moments".
Stoke chairman Peter Coates was also critical, saying it was "a very limp performance, very poor, very disappointing" and the visitors looked like they were "still on the beach", in reference to their trip to Dubai for warm weather training.
Needless to say, a reaction will be expected on Saturday when they face a Middlesbrough side who have not won in nine Premier League matches and have scored just eight goals away from home this season.
Will Burnley build on point? (Swansea v Burnley, Saturday, 3pm)
Burnley might be 11th in the table, nine points above the bottom three, but striker Andre Gray said this week that they are still in the "relegation battle".
If that is the case then they at least avoided getting sucked into it further by drawing at Hull last weekend, earning just their second away point of the season.
But they do still have the worst away record in the Premier League and face two more road trips in succession after this match - at Liverpool and then Sunderland.
A win against Swansea - one of only three sides to win at Turf Moor in the league this season - could see the Clarets move up to ninth, and surely well clear of the battle for the drop.
Will Hornets stop Gabbiadini? (Watford v Southampton, Saturday, 3pm)
Having managed for several years in Serie A before joining Watford last summer, Walter Mazzarri should be quite familiar with Southampton forward Manolo Gabbiadini.
But even those most familiar with the 25-year-old would probably not have predicted his flying start at Southampton.
Since arriving from Napoli in January, Gabbiadini has scored five in three games, including two in the EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United last weekend.
He says his start at Saints has been "beautiful and fantastic", and hopes the move will be a "turning point" in his career. The longer he continues scoring, the more the £17m transfer fee will look like a bargain.
Will Palace earn back-to-back wins? (West Brom v Crystal Palace, Saturday, 3pm)
Two wins a row for Palace? Surely not. They've done it only once in the Premier League since December 2015, but a victory at the Hawthorns would be huge as Sam Allardyce's side go into a tough period of fixtures.
Among others, Palace face Chelsea (A), Southampton (A), Arsenal (H) and Liverpool (A) in March and April, as well as a home tie against Leicester on April 15.
It's vital they keep momentum, something they failed to do after Allardyce got his first win against Bournemouth at the end of January.
For Albion, a top-six finish is not completely out of the question, sitting eight points off the European places after winning five of their last eight.
Will Liverpool produce another special night at Anfield? (Liverpool v Arsenal, Saturday, 5.30pm)
Jamie Carragher referenced Liverpool's ability to create a big atmosphere at Anfield against their top-six rivals on Monday Night Football, but performances against lesser opposition has hampered their title tilt.
Top-four hopes are still alive, however, and Liverpool tend to turn it on in these types of fixtures. Since Christmas, they've beaten Manchester City and Tottenham at Anfield, and were impressive in their draw against Chelsea. Saturday will be just as big.
They sit a point behind fourth-place Arsenal, but have played an extra game, and defeat could pile the pressure on Jurgen Klopp after a disastrous 2017 to date.
Will Everton make a statement in the race for Europe? (Tottenham v Everton, Super Sunday from 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports 1 HD)
They've been in fine form of late, but this is Everton's biggest test of 2017.
Ronald Koeman's side are unbeaten in nine, winning six of those, and could make a late surge for the top six and even top four places with 12 games remaining.
They are just four points off Manchester United in fourth, and six off the Champions League places, and seem to have struck the balance between defence and attack after an inconsistent first half to the campaign.
Romelu Lukaku has made no secret about his desire to play in Europe, and the final few months of this season could shape the Belgium international's future at Goodison Park.
Will City pile the pressure on Chelsea? (Sunderland v Manchester City, Super Sunday, 3.30pm, live on Sky Sports 1 HD)
City now have a game in hand on Chelsea - albeit against Manchester United - but could put pressure on the Premier League leaders with a win at the Stadium of Light.
Three points would mean Chelsea go into their London derby at West Ham on MNF with added burden, and City look a good bet after clicking in recent weeks.
After Sunderland, City host Stoke, before tough clashes against Liverpool (H), Arsenal (A) and then Chelsea (A). One slip could see the Blues run away with it.
Will West Ham turn it on again in the London derby? West Ham v Chelsea (Monday Night Football from 7pm, live on Sky Sports 1 HD)
West Ham have lost just one in six since Dimitri Payet unceremoniously left the club, and in recent years the Hammers have refused to give Chelsea an easy ride.
Make no mistake, this is a hugely difficult fixture for Antonio Conte's side, who lost at the London Stadium in the EFL Cup earlier this season.
Conte said last week his side need 29 more points for the title, but may take just the one here if West Ham are on song.